“I argue that the most powerful thing you can do to add healthy years is to curate your immediate social network,” said Mr. Buettner, who advises people to focus on three to five real-world friends rather than distant Facebook friends. “In general you want friends with whom you can have a meaningful conversation,” he said. “You can call them on a bad day and they will care. Your group of friends are better than any drug or anti-aging supplement, and will do more for you than just about anything."
Dr. Ned Hallowell likes to talk about pruning the naysayers – that it’s okay to move away from who bring you down. We all have enough trouble keeping our lives together as it is!
Parker Pope’s article talks about the science of having positive people in your life based upon the work that Dan Buettner, a National Geographic Explorer who has been studying longevity in Japan, has been doing. In a nutshell, having strong, supportive connections adds years to your life unlike just about anything else.
This is a problem for ADHD-impacted couples. Those with ADHD split their attention between many things and may have trouble making the repeated connections with others that sustain long-term, deep relationships. Further, distracting social networks can lead to a lot of distracted, shallow ‘touches’ with others but little depth.
Non-ADHD partners often tell me they feel isolated by the struggles they are experiencing and by the fact that few outside their relationships understand. Or, as one woman recently wrote me – ‘friends and pastors do not believe we have as serious a problem as we have. He is so likeable and charming.’ And, trying to deal with household responsibilities, depression and anger often subsumes even one’s most important social relationships.
If this is happening to you, it’s time to reverse course. Think of this as ‘treatment’ for yourself. Reconnect with your best friend. Call him or her and get together. Connect with others who ‘get’ ADHD. (You can do this in my support groups and seminars.) Pair away the people who ask of you, but give little.
Think of it as the life-extending, critical activity that it is, and put it ahead of other tasks that ‘seem’ more important due to deadlines. Most often, they aren’t.
For those in marriages impacted by ADHD
You can find great resources for couples impacted by ADHD at adhdmarriage.com, including free: Online treatment overview; Downloadable chapters of my books; A community forum with other couples facing similar issues; A large number of blog posts on various topics; Referrals. Adult ADHD can have a huge impact on your relationship. ADHDmarriage.com can literally change your life!
Seminars and Groups
Is your relationship in trouble? Consider my highly acclaimed couples' course: ADHD Effect In-Depth Couples' Seminar - This 8-session phone seminar has helped many couples thrive in healthier, happier relationships. The next Live session starts March 26, 2019.